The plan to allow development within the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) is moving forward as the communities and municipalities have submitted proposals outlining how they consider the process should work, the British bases said on Thursday.
In an announcement, the bases said that the zoning and processes have been jointly reviewed by bases staff and the Department of Town Planning and Housing.
“Together, these teams are now working to produce an agreed document which will confirm how applications will be assessed. It is hoped that the final document will be completed towards the end of 2016,” it said.
The land in the Bases has been designated into ‘zones’. Each zone will have different rules allowing development, or not, depending on where it is located. A joint proposal is also being drawn-up which will allow non-SBA residents interested in developing in the bases to have applications for development considered.
“Contrary to recent reports, no zones have been handed over to local municipalities and suggestions that development bids will be considered within the first six months of the year are untrue and misleading,” the bases said in response to reports in the Greek Cypriot media on Thursday.
Chief Officer of the Bases, Philip Rushbrook said: “We continue to work closely with the Department of Town Planning and Housing and look forward to agreeing a framework that works for everybody.
“This is important work which needs to be undertaken diligently, for that reason we are not rushing or setting any deadlines.”
Bases spokesman Sean Tully said: “The SBA enjoys an excellent co-operative relationship with the municipalities and much of the day-to-day administration in the SBA communities is looked after by the residents themselves.
“We are hoping to use these longstanding principles of co-operation when assessing applications for development. Initially, planning applications will be submitted to the Government Town and Planning Department who will then consider these based on our agreed policy, however the bases authorities will have the final say if proposals interfere with certain activities.”
He continued: “It is important to manage expectations; this change is designed to allow sensible development at a level that will benefit, and be acceptable to both our communities”.
The bases remain largely un-developed because of an agreement between the Sovereign Base Area Administration and the Cyprus Government. Last week the Bases designated approximately 45 per cent of its area as Special Areas of Conservations (SAC) however, Tully stated that this did not equate to ‘zero development’ in these Areas.
“Proposals for development within SACs will be subject to appropriate consideration of their potential adverse effect on the integrity or the character of the SACs. This process is known as an ‘appropriate assessment, in most instances this is an uncomplicated, straightforward procedure.”